Oh, it was all so exciting. The Farmer’s Market was abuzz with homesteaders, farmers and backyard chicken coopers – chatting each other up about how long they leave their farm fresh eggs out on the counter…
What?!? Not refrigerating eggs? Who would even consider such FDA sacrilege? Isn’t that a recipe for salmonella?
FYI: the only food-related, salmonella outbreaks reported in the U.S. for the past 20+ years have been linked to the consumption of commercial poultry products – meat, not eggs (CDC).
So how do you store farm fresh eggs?
You Should Refrigerate Your Eggs
Here is the deal. For Golden Gate Organics business’s sake, for our legal liability’s sake, and for lots of other 21st century’s sakes – we are stating loud and clear that you should refrigerate your farm fresh eggs the minute you get them home. Eggs are a super nutritious addition to your diet, and the fresher they are – the better.
We also recommend marking your egg box with the bought date, and then consuming the refrigerated eggs within three to four weeks. If you are like many of our customers, your household goes through organic farm fresh eggs so fast there’s no need to mark the box at all – you can simply donate empty boxes to your nearest backyard chicken owner, who will thank you profusely – and most likely reward your generosity with a dozen eggs.
Is it True That Farm Fresh Eggs Don’t Need to Be Refrigerated?
Again, we’ll reiterate that we advise you to refrigerate your farm fresh eggs.
However, it is true that lots of people in the organic farming and homesteading community – as well as the large majority of Europeans (who mostly buy/eat farm fresh eggs) – do not. Here’s why…
Egg shells are porous. When chickens lay their eggs, the eggs are automatically coated with a clear substance called a “bloom” or a “cuticle.” This layer is a natural antibiotic that protects the egg’s contents from degrading as the result of harmful bacteria.
In the big Ag world, eggs are washed because large commercial chicken farms have a difficult time keeping their chickens healthy and clean, and this makes the entire enterprise more susceptible to harmful bacteria. When industrial eggs are collected, they’re washed and then coated with a synthetic product, designed to replicate the original bloom.
In the farm fresh egg world, many chicken owners – and organically-minded consumers – choose not to wash their eggs, keep the original bloom intact and then store the eggs on their countertop. We love the way eggs look – we love their colors and their varieties. We love that we know the chickens who laid the eggs, and that those eggs were the product of our own backyards – or a neighbor’s or friend’s backyard.
We also know that in the natural world, chickens lay about one egg per day, until they have about 12 to 14 eggs in their nest – at which point the begin setting on them until the eggs hatch. The whole clutch of eggs hatches within hours of one another. That means that the egg laid on Day 1 is still just as healthy as the egg laid on Day 14 – as evidenced by the healthy chick inside – even though it was never refrigerated.
So, you may notice that some chicken-rearing friends choose to keep farm fresh eggs – or an assortment of them – out on the counter for as long as a week or more. Baskets work well for countertop eggs, as do these nifty egg dispensers – called egg skelters – that ensure eggs are in the order in which they arrived.
Note: Some farm fresh eggs may come with poop on the shell, these should always be washed first and refrigerated. Also, if your farm fresh eggs have already been washed, they’ve lost the protective “bloom,” so it’s best to refrigerate those as well.
Do be aware that some of our customers who wanted to keep their eggs on the counter found out their dogs appreciated the proximity as well, which re-inspired them to refrigerate the farm fresh eggs after all.
Do you live in the Bay Area and are interested in having organic farm fresh eggs delivered to your door? Contact us here at Golden Gate Organics or visit our online store to purchase farm fresh organic eggs. We look forward to nourishing your family.